Congratulations to Diane for winning the contest that fortunately didn’t have the media playing one candidate off against the other as is happening with Labour. That is probably because so many other senior party figures are standing down or resigning or switching to the Tories with claims of giant splits in UKIP.
Up to a point they are right because the way the leadership has done its own thing, often at odds with the NEC, and junior employees making decisions above their pay grade. The grassroots as such were often ignored except as a funding source, so I am looking forward to a new arrangement where the leadership and NEC and grassroots are all working well together.
The Leaders’ Speech was good and leads me to believe that as Diane does more of them she will gain confidence and talk a bit louder and give slightly longer pauses between sentences.
She identified a number of issues, including making changes to the management of UKIP, and about the fine manifesto we had at the 2015 general election.
On the issue of the manifesto she wanted the grassroots to be able to contribute their views to the creation of the one for 2020 based on the previous one she claimed as ‘fully costed’. That was the point where I have a problem because I don’t know what ‘fully costed’ means.
Are there any figures from UKIP to justify such a statement and does it mean much the same as the claims of the other parties, where you can add up all the promised money and it well exceeds government income but no-one seems to care.
I was brought up to be careful with money and never to get into unnecessary debt, except taking out a mortgage on a house. I have though over the years extended this to loans against the purchase of industrial premises but on the same condition that they were affordable and would become valuable assets when paid off.
I don’t know if the government keeps separate accounting for capital expenditure and for service expenditure but I am fairly sure one of the other authors Iain MacKie would know.
For example, do the Private Funding Initiative payments for the NHS hospitals come from the service budget used for running them.
Likewise does the proposed cost of HS2 and new Trident come from normal Gross National Income or do they come from other loans adding to the total debt along with annual deficits.
In 1997 new Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown inherited from the Tories an economy growing faster than expenditure and indeed within two years it was running at a surplus. Gordon Brown then gave control of interest rates to the Bank of England so they would no longer be used as a political tool. Big mistake!
He also announced his intention to be prudent with his budgets and that public expenditure would always be limited to 42% of GDP. That didn’t last long and within a further two years of the economy going into surplus it went back into deficit and then ran about £33b annual overspend until he passed on the job to Alistair Darling in 2008.
Alistair Darling massively increased spending on the NHS and Welfare so the Tories subsequently inherited an economy running an annual overspend (deficit) of £158b! They promised to clear this within the parliamentary period of 5 years but unfortunately only reduced it to about £100b by 2015.
Anyway we are now in a situation where expenditure continues to rise, particularly on pensions, and the global economy is slowing, mainly because China has saturated the Worlds market with goods and the Chinese population are demanding better incomes and working conditions.
The Bank of England failed to raise the interest rate when unemployment fell below 7% as it had declared as the threshold. It subsequently reduced it after the Leave EU result in order to trigger a fall in the value of the pound to bring about the recession promised by the Remain campaigners. As a result UK growth is now predicted to grow by only 1.8% per annum to 2020 instead of the previous prediction of 2.5 to 3%.
Our problem in UKIP is how to fund the rising public sector pension cost if the economy is not growing sufficiently fast and if we restrict taxable income by keeping down immigration.
I have done the figures for the Tories based on continued payments to the EU to the end of 2019 and included HS2, the continuing waste of money on overseas aid, and renewable subsidies. With an economy growing at 2% per annum the deficit will have increased again to about £150b by 2020.
There is nothing we can do about this until after 2020 and then only if we are in coalition with the Tories! I don’t think it is realistic to contemplate being a majority government after 2020. In the event of a coalition it will be too late to stop HS2 so that might run on for a further 2 or 3 years at about £10b per annum. The pensions will be approaching the peak due to the baby boomers, after which the annual increase will be much lower.
Overseas aid and renewable subsidies could be slashed, the NHS budget could be fixed at 20% to prevent it absorbing ever more of national income. Otherwise and can see nowhere to make enough savings to come close to balancing the books.
So when we talk about a costed manifesto I want to see the projected figure of national income to the end of 2025. Against this realistic figures for expenditure for pensions, healthcare, welfare, education, defence, protection, transport, and loan interest. Anything less is not properly costed!
If we could do this we could demand the other parties show us their figures as well. At last we would force the issue on Labour to explain how to spend an additional £60b on the NHS and also cut the deficit. In the 2020 manifesto a prudent economic plan could be our greatest weapon.